Depression and loneliness ties to physical ills

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by grace54, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    SCIENCE news from Scientific America

    I thought I would share this story of how our depression and lonelinees contributes to our ill health, what do you all think??:)

    By Andrew Stern

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Depression, severe mental illness and loneliness are linked to illnesses such as heart disease and dementia, according to several studies published on Monday.

    The exact connections between a dysfunctional mind and a malfunctioning body remains an ongoing question, but at least one of three sets of researchers writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry said several factors may be at work.

    Dr. Jesse Stewart, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found a correlation between depression and hardening of the arteries in his three-year study of 324 men and women who averaged 60 years old.

    The arteries of those who were most depressed had narrowed twice as much as those who were least depressed, the study found.

    Hardening of the arteries can be a precursor to a heart attack or stroke and may occur because of a malfunctioning nervous system in depressed people, Stewart wrote.

    Depression may also upset the body's regulation of glands that release chemicals governing energy level and growth, and alter the functioning of cells responsible for blood clotting.

    Hardening of the arteries leads to an overreaction of the immune system and the resulting inflammation is known to release chemicals that can have effects on behavior, he added. The brain, too, can suffer from the reduced blood flow, reinforcing the depression and the resulting ailments, he wrote.

    In the same journal, a British study of 46,136 severely mentally ill people found those who were younger than 50 were more than three times as likely to die from coronary heart disease and stroke than people not suffering from mental illness. Mental illness more than doubled the risk of dying from heart disease for people up to age 75.

    The risk of dying from heart disease was even higher among those taking antipsychotic medication, and study author David P.J. Osborn at the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London.

    Osborn urged a more "holistic" approach to caring for the mentally ill, with more frequent monitoring of such vital signs as blood pressure and cholesterol and more attention to diet and exercise that often go neglected.

    A third study found that a persistent feeling of loneliness among the elderly doubled their risk of developing Alzheimer's-like symptoms compared to those who felt connected to others.

    Autopsies on 90 of the study participants who died -- the only sure diagnosis -- did not turn up the tell-tale plaques, tangles and brain tissue damage of Alzheimer's, however.

    That finding suggested something else to study author Robert Wilson of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. He wrote that depression from loneliness somehow damaged the brain's ability to compensate for the age-related deterioration of the pathways that underlie social behavior and induced dementia.

    [This Message was Edited on 02/06/2007]
  2. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    Yes we know that babies will die if not loved and held and as adults it is still cathartic to be cared for. Sure we can live without but are quality of life and our healing will be compromised. I believe we were created that way.People who are happily married tend to live longer.

    Loneliness is often a choice, sometimes it is so hard to pick up the phone when we are depressed but I feel much better if I call a friend but that evil depression will try to keep me down and sometimes wins but I fight it like a warrior. These chronic illnesses are tough on our entire being. The above article has inspired me to work on eliminating my depression as much as possible and much of it is the cognitive type.

    I make a point now to listen to what I am telling myself all day and I am amazed at the negative content of my self talk and how often I beat myself up. I need to change those sometimes subtle thoughts as If I listen carefully I can feel a twinge of pain when I berate myself or think negatively. Now that my life has slowed considerably I can detect things faster and change my thoughts and often lift my depression immediately with positive, joyous thinking.

    No it is not always easy, habits of a lifetime are so ingrained but I know that to a degree I become what I tell myself and in order to rest my adrenals I need to destress as much as possible and I have learned I often contribute to my chaos by the way I perceive things and by forgetting to be grateful and hopeful. It is said of the death camps in Germany that those that survived were somehow able to order their inner world to be hopeful and think of joyious past experiences.The power of the mind never ceases to amaze me.Good health to all
  3. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Grace 54:

    I do not know. It seems to make some kind of sense, though.
    It is definitely food for thought.
    Thank you for posting this very interesting article.


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